Dear Kiran

I woke up this morning and signed the “happy birthday” song that you so loved – and wanted to repeat again and again, while you sat regally in the middle of the dining table.  Six years old – its hard to imagine you as a big boy sometimes.  Has it really been three years since we last celebrated your birthday with you?  We wonder how we’d be celebrating your birthday today – would we have a small celebration at home with Mom, Dad, Thatha and your little “thambi” Ravi?, or would we have organized a party for all your friends over the weekend.

Ravi is fascinated by you.  He loves looking at your picture in our bedroom every morning.  We tell him stories about his big brother.  I can picture what a good brother you would have been – always helping mom and me – running to get a bottle or some diapers, being thrilled when Ravi beamed his toothless grin at you and started jabbering away.  We are signing a little with Ravi.  He’s still a baby – only 3 months old – so it might take him a little while to learn, but I know he will.

Ravi has been wearing some of your clothes, playing with your toys and we’ve been reading your books together.  We weren’t sure we could do it, but mostly it feels right.  Some things are sacred, and Ravi will have to get his own copies of some books like Mr. Blueberry and Chicka-chicka-boom-boom.  No piggy for him either – though maybe he will adopt the sheep as a lovey.

What can I say?  We think about you all the time and wish you were here with us.  Someone said – “I love a happy ending,” when I told them we were expecting Ravi.  Is that what this is?  No its not – by any stretch of the imagination.   We appreciate that people want us to be happy, but there is a certain naivete about how we’re supposed to flip a switch.   Some seem to believe we carry your death on our shoulders as a weapon against the world.  They don’t have the capacity to empathize and understand the deeply existential nature of that event, or realize that it’s impacts are ongoing and life-long.

Our lives are on a different path from where we started – one we would never have wanted to be on.  We will try to make the best of this.  While life is more than tinged with sadness, Ravi has brought joy and hope back into our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine when you died.

Happy 6th birthday my lovely boy.